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This issue’s cover illustration by Fangorn is taken from Brian Jacques’ Lord Brocktree (Hutchinson, 0 09 176877 2, £12.99), the thirteenth title in the internationally best-selling Redwall series. Salamandastron, the ancestral home of the Badger Lords, is under threat from Ungatt Trunn, an enemy whose power would seem to be absolute and whose evil knows no bounds. The only hope for survival is the badger Lord Brocktree who is drawn to the fortress by an undeniable sense of destiny. Brian Jacques' masterful storytelling as always spins a web of high adventure that will enthral the reader from the first page to the last. Thanks to Hutchinson Children’s Books for their help in producing this September cover.
Ghosts is the third volume of a trilogy set in the 2300s; in this case in 2371. In a society more dystopian than utopian, Europe is governed by the European Federation which intends the human race to remain exactly as it was in the early 21st century. Space exploration is forbidden and all scientific progress is tightly controlled. Society is regulated by 'the web', which has become highly organized, and runs along the strict network demarcation lines: the city, England, Europe. Due to genetic experiments in earlier centuries, certain individuals have inherited the Hex gene. This gives them a telepathic ability to navigate and interact with the web. Under the regime of the European Federation, Hexes are feared by the government for their abilities, and consequently driven into concealment. Ghosts are a group of young Hexes dedicated to rescuing their fellow Hexes and to overthrowing the government. The most brilliant and most wanted of these is a young woman: Raven. Much of Ghosts pivots on the activities of Drow, a young hacker who discovers he carries the Hex gene. This enables him to establish contact on the web with two other Hexes, Gift and Tally, who have a computer file, the possession of which would give Hexes the power to overcome the corrupt government. Drow's navigation of Gift and Tally to safety via the web and Raven's fight to overthrow the government brings the Hex trilogy to a triumphant conclusion. While Hex may be read as a futuristic adventure series, it also provides some interesting reflections on the future development of science and technology on this planet. There is a wide cast of supporting characters and quite a bit of technological jargon which may be more assimilated if the series is read in sequence.